For most, a cooking class can be a great place to pick up a new technique, learn a new recipe, or enjoy an evening out with friends. For participants in the ARC Wellness & Healthy Lifestyles cooking class, it’s also about building their confidence in basic cooking skills and healthy eating.
This year OSU Extension, Franklin County has partnered with ARC Industries Wellness Program to offer interactive cooking classes for adults with intellectual disabilities at their ARC training and employment centers, managed by the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The 12-week wellness curriculum was developed to teach participants how to lead healthier, more active lifestyles and focuses on a variety of wellness topics, including nutrition and healthy eating. As part of the program, OSU Extension, Franklin County Family and Consumer Sciences, Educator Jenny Lobb taught basic knife and cooking skills for several ARC Wellness classes, giving participants the opportunity to practice chopping vegetables, measuring ingredients, and following recipes to make turkey chili joes and creamy dill dip with fresh cut veggies.
“The services OSU Extension is providing are so valuable to our participants, staff and caregivers,” said Mary Jane Timmons, Health and Wellness Consultant with the ARC Wellness & Healthy Lifestyles program. “The smiles are priceless, and the positive feedback from the participants speaks volumes.”
Following the hands-on class, the participants enjoyed the finished products and received the recipes to recreate at home, which aligned with the healthy-eating principles they learned during the program. “Based on the feedback we received, the cooking class provided some participants with a unique opportunity to eat fresh vegetables, perhaps for the first time,” said Jenny.
OSU Extension, Franklin County is one of a number of community partners, including Local Matters, Kroger, the YMCA, Vertical Adventures, Fred Astaire Dance Studio, and the Adaptive Adventure Sports Coalition, that is collaborating with ARC Wellness & Healthy Lifestyles to offer their participants healthy, engaging experiences as part of the program.